The Honda’s interior is sparsely decorated yet very functional. The dashboard’s ergonomically sound layout is easy to interact with whilst the low cowl, comfortable front seats and a well-placed steering wheel offer a fine driving position and an unrestricted view, which instills confidence. The centre console is simple in its layout but the speedometer has cheap looking fonts and the tachometer isn’t the easiest to read - a size larger would have definitely helped. The dashboard plastics aren’t bad in terms of quality but the simple dash design and basic switchgear make the cabin feel a bit austere. Looking at the diminutive Brio, you would expect the rear seats to be cramped but it’s surprisingly spacious with decent legroom and a comfy seat back. However, the smallish seat squabs lack thigh support and there aren’t any head restraints or bottle holders at the back either. Another irritant was that one inevitably bumps their head against the grab handles, rather often while exiting the car. A fine bit of packaging though can be seen on the inner rear doors – to make it easy to get in and out, Honda has moved the speaker in a way that doesn’t interfere with your foot.
It’s the boot that’s probably the most disappointing bit about the Brio’s packaging. The glass hatch may look snazzy but, you won’t be terribly impressed with what it conceals. The boot’s high loading height coupled with its narrow and deep form dents convenience and its petite volume struggles to swallow anything more than a suitcase and a soft bag. Also, guiding the spare wheel out of that narrow and deep cavity is an arduous task. And you really wouldn’t want to deal with a flat when it’s dark and pouring.
On the contrary, you feel more cared for in the Grand i10 and you won’t feel short changed here. There’s a good mix of quality materials and the attention to detail is quite impressive. All the ‘touch-points’ have been deliberately made to exude a premium feel with regards to their materials and operation. For example, all the rotary knobs are treated with a premium knurled finish and the glass-top gear lever looks quite special too.
The only thing that feels a bit cheap are the air-con controls that are quite stiff and clunky to operate. While the front seats are as comfortable as the Brio’s, the driving position doesn’t feel as great. The higher dashboard warrants for your seat to be set all the way up to achieve a vantage driving position. At the rear, you’re treated with slightly more supportive seats and similar knee room as the Brio’s. But, after an hour and a half, the low seat and high window line does get a bit claustrophobic. Then there’s the segment first rear AC vents which, frankly, didn’t put up much of a fight against Mumbai’s sultry October afternoons. In fact, the main advantage of them is the extra 12V mounted socket, which was helpful in preventing our phones from running out of juice. After the Brio, the Grand i10’s spacious and ergonomically sound boot was a welcome change as it gobbled up our camera equipment and three backpacks with ease.